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Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)

Director: Leonard Nimoy
Writers: Harve Bennett
Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley,James Doohan, Walter Koenig George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Robin Curtis

Genre: Sci Fi

"Admiral Kirk and his bridge crew risk their careers stealing the decommissioned Enterprise to return to the restricted Genesis Planet to recover Spock's body."

Much better than most people think! I use to say this was the worst of the original ST movies, but after a rewatch I have to say I liked it! It's the most Star Trek of the Star Trek movies.



At it's heart is the continuation of the story that was started in Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan. At the end of the second ST movie Spock dies...that was because Leonard Nimoy had said he was done making Star Trek movies. That's also why a Spock replacement was introduced with Kirstie Alley as Saavik. For Search of Spock Saavik is played by Robin Curtis who makes a good Vulcan female and plays the character purely as a Vulcan. And in one of the more interesting scenes she has Pon Far sexual relations with the young Spock, thus getting pregnant (all done off screen). The discussion of her pregnancy was cut from the final edit leaving us to wonder what Kirk meant when he ask Saavik "If she has told Spock yet?"

I found Search for Spock to be the ST movie most like an original ST episode. The original TV series had some pretty outlandish ideas but they most often always worked because of the
comradery between the crew. The cast had great chemistry and that's what made some of the original story ideas, no matter how outlandish, work so well. During the movie I thought of the episode Spock's Brain.



Christopher Lloyd better known as Jim on Taxi or Doc in The Back to the Future movies made a really good Klingon! This is the first time that Klingons and Klingon culture was brought to the forefront...and they got it right and for that reason alone ST III deserves respect.




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The Search for Spock really is an excellent entry to the ST original crew movie series.

All the movies after Khan are direct sequels, but this one is really the completion of the story that began in ST II, making the two the most directly sequential - this movie is literally part II of Wrath of Khan.

But due to this fact, it's not really a stand alone movie like most of the rest - you really need to know some ST history and need to have seen Wrath of Khan for this movie to make sense as most of the major plot details are continued from the previous film.

It had a few drawbacks: the special effects were just slightly a notch down from its predecessor (IMO). Not terribly different, but noticeable: Things like the Genesis planet (some of it reminded me of sets on the TV show, better than those, sure, but not by a whole lot) - it all looked like a sound stage, i.e. it didn't look real, but then maybe we could write that off to the fact that Genesis was an artificially produced planet! Little things like the "worms" on the planet, the Klingons' pet dog - some of these just looked silly. The outer space scenes & model work were good, yet still didn't seem up to par with those of the two previous movies. (For a major downgrade in the special effects department see ST-V The Final Frontier)

Saavik played by a different actress. All I can say is it was a noticeable gap in continuity especially considering how closely these two films followed each other (as previously mentioned). It was quite obvious that this was not Kirstie Alley. I don't know which Saavik I liked more - I thought Robin Curtiss was a much prettier Saavick, but Kirstie Alley was probably the better actress. (A bit of trivia - the Vulcan female in ST VI played by Kim Cattrall was originally written to be Saavik, who ultimately betrays Star Fleet with added drama due to her and Spock's intimate past, but the character was later changed for some reason and named Valeris.)

David being killed - I don't know if this was a drawback or a saving grace. Hard call. It was sad considering he and Kirk only met one movie earlier, but it did make for one of the best dramatic moments when Kirk learns that David was murdered - rumor has it that Shatner missing his Captain's chair as he stumbled back upon hearing the news, ending up with him falling onto the floor of the bridge in front of the chair, was not planned, but made the scene all the more powerful.


Initially some had a hard time taking Christopher Lloyd seriously as a Klingon, yet I think it's unanimously held that he pulled it off and he's become one of the most memorable Klingon's in ST history.

Just some thoughts.

(About 2 years ago I did a back to back rewatch of all the movies in the series followed by most of the Next Generation movies.)



The Search for Spock...

It had a few drawbacks:... Little things like the "worms" on the planet, the Klingons' pet dog - some of these just looked silly

Saavik played by a different actress. All I can say is it was a noticeable gap in continuity especially considering how closely these two films followed each other (as previously mentioned). It was quite obvious that this was not Kirstie Alley.

Initially some had a hard time taking Christopher Lloyd seriously as a Klingon, yet I think it's unanimously held that he pulled it off and he's become one of the most memorable Klingon's in ST history.
I thought all those aspects that you just mentioned where weak points back when I first seen it at the theater...and also in subsequent viewings. That's why I use to consider Search for Spock the worst of the 6 ST Original series films. But on the last watch I had a complete turn around, which surprised me! I thought the worm scene with Kruge (Christopher Lloyd) worked well as it showed how ferocious the Klingons were. The worm nearly gets the best of him, but when he manages to kill it he tells his ship, 'nothing is going on here'...Ha, how very Klingon!'

Saavik being played by different actress bugged me before but this time around it was like my brain said they where two different characters. I'm not sure which is prettier, I'm voting both

I remember thinking Christopher Lloyd's Klingon was Jim from Taxi in disguise. I mean he has a very distinctive voice. But this time around it's been ages since I seen Taxi or Back to the Future so my brain registered, bad ass Klingon!

David being killed - I don't know if this was a drawback or a saving grace. Hard call. It was sad considering he and Kirk only met one movie earlier, but it did make for one of the best dramatic moments when Kirk learns that David was murdered - rumor has it that Shatner missing his Captain's chair as he stumbled back upon hearing the news, ending up with him falling onto the floor of the bridge in front of the chair, was not planned, but made the scene all the more powerful.
Yeah that was one helluva a powerful scene...I've never seen Captain Kirk look so demoralized.


(About 2 years ago I did a back to back rewatch of all the movies in the series followed by most of the Next Generation movies.)
That's what I'm doing. I just finished rewatching the Original Series and I'm almost done with the OS films, then I'll start on Next Generation.



One thing I have to ask, Rules, in all seriousness - when you say you used to think III-Search for Spock was the worst of the 6, did you really think it was worse than V-The Final Frontier?

Oh, I can't wait till you review that one!



One thing I have to ask, Rules, in all seriousness - when you say you used to think III-Search for Spock was the worst of the 6, did you really think it was worse than V-The Final Frontier?

Oh, I can't wait till you review that one!
Yes! It's true, I use to like The Final Frontier pretty well.....I just seen it the other night for the first time in a decade, so you'll have to wait until I can write my review up to find out what I thought




Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)

Director: Leonard Nimoy
Writers: Harve Bennett
Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley,James Doohan, Walter Koenig George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Robin Curtis

Genre: Sci Fi

"Admiral Kirk and his bridge crew risk their careers stealing the decommissioned Enterprise to return to the restricted Genesis Planet to recover Spock's body."

Much better than most people think! I use to say this was the worst of the original ST movies, but after a rewatch I have to say I liked it! It's the most Star Trek of the Star Trek movies.



At it's heart is the continuation of the story that was started in Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan. At the end of the second ST movie Spock dies...that was because Leonard Nimoy had said he was done making Star Trek movies. That's also why a Spock replacement was introduced with Kirstie Alley as Saavik. For Search of Spock Saavik is played by Robin Curtis who makes a good Vulcan female and plays the character purely as a Vulcan. And in one of the more interesting scenes she has Pon Far sexual relations with the young Spock, thus getting pregnant (all done off screen). The discussion of her pregnancy was cut from the final edit leaving us to wonder what Kirk meant when he ask Saavik "If she has told Spock yet?"

I found Search for Spock to be the ST movie most like an original ST episode. The original TV series had some pretty outlandish ideas but they most often always worked because of the
comradery between the crew. The cast had great chemistry and that's what made some of the original story ideas, no matter how outlandish, work so well. During the movie I thought of the episode Spock's Brain.



Christopher Lloyd better known as Jim on Taxi or Doc in The Back to the Future movies made a really good Klingon! This is the first time that Klingons and Klingon culture was brought to the forefront...and they got it right and for that reason alone ST III deserves respect.





I never understood why so many people dislike Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. I think it's a great movie, with some of the best lines in the ST II - IV trilogy.

Robin Curtis was definitely a big step down from Kirstie Alley, but she wasn't bad. I loved seeing Christopher Lloyd as a Klingon, but there were a few times that I could see the Reverend Jim character in him. I also liked John Larroquette as a Klingon, but I wish he had more screen time.

I loved some of the other Starship captains we met in this movie, specifically James B. Sikking as Captain Styles ("How can you have a yellow alert in space dock?"), and Phillip Richard Allen as Captain Esteban ("This landing is Captain's discretion and I'm the one who's out on a limb.").

The hardest scene to watch was when the Klingons beamed aboard the Enterprise. It was heartbreaking, even though we won that battle.

I'm glad they cut the storyline about Saavik's pregnancy. I don't think they needed it, and it would have just distracted from the main storyline.

And just for the record, this movie is far superior to the episode "Spock's Brain".
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OPEN FLOOR.



One thing I have to ask, Rules, in all seriousness - when you say you used to think III-Search for Spock was the worst of the 6, did you really think it was worse than V-The Final Frontier?

Oh, I can't wait till you review that one!
Yes! It's true, I use to like The Final Frontier pretty well.....I just seen it the other night for the first time in a decade, so you'll have to wait until I can write my review up to find out what I thought

Rules, now that you like Star Trek III, which movie do you think is worse, Star Trek: The Motion Picture or Star Trek V?




Man, Sheldon is so wrong!

How can he say TMP failed on music? The theme was so great that it was adopted by the entire run of The Next Generation. And the Klingon theme? Ilia's theme? (I actually owned the soundtrack album at one time!)



Man, Sheldon is so wrong!

How can he say TMP failed on music? The theme was so great that it was adopted by the entire run of The Next Generation. And the Klingon theme? Ilia's theme? (I actually owned the soundtrack album at one time!)

I agree with you that Sheldon is wrong about the music, but he's right that Star Trek: TMP failed in so many other ways that it's worse than Star Trek V.



I won't dance. Don't ask me...
I agree with you that Sheldon is wrong about the music, but he's right that Star Trek: TMP failed in so many other ways that it's worse than Star Trek V.

Discussion about which Star Trek movie is worst - sounds like my type of debate



I agree with you that Sheldon is wrong about the music, but he's right that Star Trek: TMP failed in so many other ways that it's worse than Star Trek V.
I've expressed many times my personal reasons for liking it - but I have a new one - the fact that every decade it seems to become increasingly unpopular and panned! Liking it appeals to my sense of non-conformity!



I won't dance. Don't ask me...
So @Ms. M, which Star Trek movie do you think is the worst?
Let's just say I didn't finish Star Trek made in 2009. It was awful.
I watched the oldest ones movies as a child or teenager, so I treat them with a little nostalgia (but not too big).




Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

Director: Leonard Nimoy
Writers: Leonard Nimoy (story)
Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Catherine Hicks
Genre: Sci Fi


"To save Earth from an alien probe, Admiral James T. Kirk and his fugitive crew go back in time to San Francisco in 1986 to retrieve the only beings who can communicate with it: humpback whales."

Leonard Nimoy turns up the heat in his second outing as director on the Star Trek movie franchise and scores a hit with 1986's Star Trek The Voyage Home...The fourth film in the Star Trek movie series.

What colored me impressed is the levity and chemistry between the cast members. That chemistry was paramount to making the original TV series a cultural phenomenon and at times was lacking in the other Star Trek movies. Is The Voyage Home silly at times? You bet it is! And thank goodness it's whimsical at times as that 'fun factor' allows the film to have a high rewatchability. At the same time it scores high on the goose bump rating, especially the scenes about the whales and how they were being hunted to extinction. Those sentimental moments brought a near tear to this reviewer's eye. I read that this movie was responsible for bringing a new awareness into the plight of these intelligent beings that we call whales. And for that the movie gets my highest praise, and that message made this one of the best of the ST films.



Another thing that I loved was for once the other ST crew members got some real air time. Especially Walter Koenig as Chekov. Chekov gets his own story arc and we get to see him do some real acting, as opposed to just delivering static exposition about navigation or shields. In the DVD extras Koenig was interviewed and he was quite happy that he had a chance to shine for a change. I liked that there were multiple story arcs based on the exploits of the ST crew as they went about trying to bring a pair of humpback whales into the 23rd century. So often the ST films only revolve around Kirk and Spock. So it was nice to see the 'little people' get their 15 minutes of fame for once!



I really like the setting of the film on contemporary Earth, that's 1986 and the past to us but present time when the film came out. That setting allowed for the film to contrast how things were, compared to how we hope they well be in the 23rd century and allowed for some humor too. I liked the casting of Catherine Hicks as the biologist and love interest of Captain Kirk. She was our proxy into the film and so was easy to relate too.



Sure it's another one of those pesky alien probes (shades of ST The Motion Picture) that threaten to destroy Earth unless Captain Kirk and his crew can find a way to communicate with it. But this time the probe is mostly the catalyst for the events of the movie and not the main feature.



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Let's just say I didn't finish Star Trek made in 2009. It was awful.
I watched the oldest ones movies as a child or teenager, so I treat them with a little nostalgia (but not too big).

I didn't think the 2009 Star Trek was that bad, but it certainly wasn't as good as most of the original cast movies. I just try to separate it in my mind from the original Star Trek series/movies, and I watch it as a stand-alone sci-fi movie. It has some problems, but it's a pretty good movie.




Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

Director: Leonard Nimoy
Writers: Leonard Nimoy (story)
Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Catherine Hicks
Genre: Sci Fi


"To save Earth from an alien probe, Admiral James T. Kirk and his fugitive crew go back in time to San Francisco in 1986 to retrieve the only beings who can communicate with it: humpback whales."

Leonard Nimoy turns up the heat in his second outing as director on the Star Trek movie franchise and scores a hit with 1986's Star Trek The Voyage Home...The fourth film in the Star Trek movie series.

What colored me impressed is the levity and chemistry between the cast members. That chemistry was paramount to making the original TV series a cultural phenomenon and at times was lacking in the other Star Trek movies. Is The Voyage Home silly at times? You bet it is! And thank goodness it's whimsical at times as that 'fun factor' allows the film to have a high rewatchability. At the same time it scores high on the goose bump rating, especially the scenes about the whales and how they were being hunted to extinction. Those sentimental moments brought a near tear to this reviewer's eye. I read that this movie was responsible for bringing a new awareness into the plight of these intelligent beings that we call whales. And for that the movie gets my highest praise, and that message made this one of the best of the ST films.



Another thing that I loved was for once the other ST crew members got some real air time. Especially Walter Koenig as Chekov. Chekov gets his own story arc and we get to see him do some real acting, as opposed to just delivering static exposition about navigation or shields. In the DVD extras Koenig was interviewed and he was quite happy that he had a chance to shine for a change. I liked that there were multiple story arcs based on the exploits of the ST crew as they went about trying to bring a pair of humpback whales into the 23rd century. So often the ST films only revolve around Kirk and Spock. So it was nice to see the 'little people' get their 15 minutes of fame for once!


Walter Koenig also got some "real air time" as Chekov in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, even though he wasn't in the original episode "Space Seed". Koenig said that he knew he wasn't in that episode when he got the script for ST2, but he didn't tell anyone because he didn't want to lose that juicy role. Even thought he wasn't in the original episode, he explained how Khan recognized him by explaining that Chekov wasn't a member of the bridge crew yet. He was just a lowly crew member who happened to be in the bathroom when Khan really really had to go very badly. When Chekov finally came out of the bathroom, Khan looked at him and said, "I will remember your face."




I really like the setting of the film on contemporary Earth, that's 1986 and the past to us but present time when the film came out. That setting allowed for the film to contrast how things were, compared to how we hope they well be in the 23rd century and allowed for some humor too. I liked the casting of Catherine Hicks as the biologist and love interest of Captain Kirk. She was our proxy into the film and so was easy to relate too.



Sure it's another one of those pesky alien probes (shades of ST The Motion Picture) that threaten to destroy Earth unless Captain Kirk and his crew can find a way to communicate with it. But this time the probe is mostly the catalyst for the events of the movie and not the main feature.




Here's a little known piece of trivia for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Did you know that there's an error on the crew jackets for that movie?




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Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)

Director: William Shatner
Writers: William Shatner
Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, David Warner, Laurence Luckinbill
Genre: Sci Fi

Had it not been for bad luck ST V: The Final Frontier might have been the best of the original cast Star Trek movies. First time feature film director William Shatner had grand visions for his movie but a 'starship load' of misfortune followed him.

For starters there was a writer's strike that curtailed the planned big ending for the film, and the special effects budget was reduced so that the entire big finale was cut down to a mere whisper of it's planned opulence. If that was enough to thwart Shatner's grand film ideas the studio demanded his film be edited down by some 20 minutes from the original 2 hour movie he had shot. Despite the fact Shatner insisted all the material was necessary to the movie, the film was heavily edited. And that's why the 5th film in the original ST franchise is considered the weakest of the bunch.



The story premise is a good one: Spock's long estranged half brother Sybok reappears as a renegade Vulcan who's embraced emotions as a way of discovering a profound metaphysical truth. The most interesting aspect is the way Sybok delves into people's minds revealing their inner fears, so that they can conquer and be free of their inner pain, thus achieving a higher state of inner peace. Now that's a cool concept! Laurence Luckinbill as the messianic Sybok is both engaging and likable...that's important because he's a big part of the film and for the audience to accept him, as does most of the Enterprise crew, he has to seem both amicable and wise.

I wonder just how more fleshed out the film would have been with the missing 20 minutes restored to it. As it is some of the scenes seem abbreviated and don't fully achieve the emotional resonance that leaves the viewer in awe. There were several key scenes where I had an innate sense that an extra line was needed to bring the scene to it's emotional peak.



I hated this Star Wars bar room scene rip off. Actually I thought the same scene in Star Wars was kitschy stupid too, so no reason to copy it. It felt like it didn't belong and they had already done a similar scene in ST III The Search for Spock.



I liked David Warner's character as a Federation envoy. But whoever decided to make this human smoke cigarettes in the 23rd century doesn't understand Star Trek canon. Gene Rodenberry had resisted all attempts by commercial interest to have cast members smoke on the original TV series, as he felt no one in the 23rd century would be smoking. Not a deal breaker but disappointing for a ST fan. The actress who played the Romulan woman in the above photo, is pretty alright but made one of the worst Romulans I've seen.

Had the film's budget not been drastically cut, had there been no writer's strike, had the studio allowed Shatner's full 2 hour version of the movie...then The Final Frontier with it's unique themes might have gone down in ST history as one of the great films...but as it is I rate it a respectable:



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Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)

Director: Nicholas Meyer
Writers: Leonard Nimoy (story)
Cast
: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doonan, Walter Koenig, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Mark Lenard, Kim Cattrall, Michael Dorn, Christopher Plummer, David Warner, Iman
Genre: Sci-Fi

What I liked about this is: the relationship between Lt. Valeris (Kim Cattrall) and Spock (Leonard Nimoy)...and how that figured into the overall story arch. Sorry, I can't say more about what happens, but for me those were the most rewarding scenes. I thought Kim Cattrall made an interesting Vulcan and her character, when on screen, was also a treat to watch.

I also was impressed with the scenes between Spock's father Sarek (Mark Lenard) and Captain Kirk (William Shatner). Especially when Sarek acknowledged the huge personal lost Kirk suffered at the hands of the Klingon's in his effort to bring Spock back to Vulcan. Nicely done! Mark Lenard is so good at playing Sarek...and those human moments (and Vulcan moments!) is what impressed me the most with the film. As far as the action stuff went it was the par usual.



What didn't impress me was the Klingon's in the 5th ST movie. Sure Christopher Plummer & David Warner are constant professionals and have amassed a wealth of impressive acting work between them. David Warner has even appeared in other ST movies. But their proper 'British gentlemen' manners and speech patterns, ruined it for me. This had to be the worst casts Klingon's of all time!...With one exception Michael Dorn as the Klingon defense attorney. Dorn played his own grandfather. As he did on ST The Next Generation, he nailed what a Klingon should sound and act like. I can't stress enough how unimpressed I was with the other Klingons.



The trail scene on the Klingon home world was a sight to behold! Very well done set design with solid use of three dimensional height.




The escape from the ice prison planet wasn't anything to amazing. I guess I was expecting more from that portion of the film....Iman, was by far the most interesting aspect of that segment of the movie. Loved those colored contact lenses. She looks mysterious!

Star Trek The Undiscovered Country
, uneven but worth it for the things it does get right.


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I've got much to say on the last few entries, but one very minor and somewhat silly observation of ST VI: the Klingon blood being the color of bubble gum.

I can understand their blood is a different color, but for some reason the playful color didn't seem to have the same impact on screen. Guess I'm just human-centric. Some could say our red blood is a playful color as well. But the murder scene in the movie just didn't seem to have the same seriousness or impact with the blood looking like pink Good-&-Plenty's (an old candy) than if, say, the blood had been black. I guess I'm saying that the blood didn't come off as blood, but as Hollywood goop with some lavender food coloring. It was distracting, and since it was such a serious and important scene, it shouldn't have had such distractions.

I always remember reading how comic artists would say how they'd draw (or color) blood black because bright red blood ends up looking silly on the page while black blood looks more realistic.